POL-UA 331
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POL-UA 331 American Constitution

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    A Few Big Assignments

    Always Do the Reading

    Great Discussions

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    • Profile picture
    Mar 01, 2017
    | Would highly recommend.

    This class was tough.

    Course Overview:

    If you're interested in learning about jurisprudential theories regarding the American Constitution, specifically the application and history of Constitutional Law on topics such as federalism, eminent domain and judicial review from an incredibly intelligent and funny professor, this class is for you. This class is an absolute delight for those who pursue nuance, knowledge and law/politics related precedent.

    Course highlights:

    The highlights of this course are the absolute wealth of knowledge Professor Rajsingh is able to provide in a class that only meets once a week for the entire semester. To be fair, it is a 2 hour 45-minute class, but it's absolutely worth it. It might seem impossible to stay awake in a class that has so much to do with the technicalities and theories of jurisprudence and constitutional applications but his humor, wit, and passion for the subject really keep you engaged throughout the lesson. You cannot stay engaged or learn anything if you don't do the reading. The professor is also, as aforementioned, very funny, sarcastic, and smart! You learn a lot just by observing him and his teaching processes. He also has great stories. We began the course with jurisprudential theories, i.e. sociological jurisprudence, textualism, originalism, realism, etc. We then moved on to what other authors thought about these theories, with dense, difficult readings. (Dworkin's great). Most of all, we read several cases over the course of the class, made briefs and learned how to determine legal reasoning and apply the same. Most importantly, we learned​ how to extract issues from cases provided to us, answer those issues and then apply legal precedent and statutes in order to answer the issues with a simple "yes" or "no" and write judicial opinions ourselves!

    Hours per week:

    6-8 hours

    Advice for students:

    His goal is for you to learn the legal language, to recognize it, understand it and replicate it. He structures his course in a way for you to find it impossible to not learn something about legal jargon (provided you actually do what he asks. So do it.) If there is a class where you should strictly follow the syllabus, religiously do the readings, and make notes on all the cases he asks you to read, this is the class. He focuses more on the fact patterns and legal reasonings of the cases. "What happened?" "What was the ruling?" "Why did they rule that way?" are questions he asks the most, so always have your notes ready with you because he will call on anyone on his list. Furthermore, he grades you based on improvement, not knowledge. He doesn't expect you to be able his multiple-choice questions perfectly in the first quiz because they're stupendously difficult and convoluted. He does, however, expect you to gradually improve and do better. Everyone who has taken this class says you could get Cs in all his quizzes and an A in the class because he cares about how you've improved and shown an upward trajectory. Make study groups! You WILL need them, especially for the legal opinions that you are required to do, which end up being 12 pages long. When he says "you can't do this overnight" you really can't. Don't try. You need to do 2-3 weeks of research to be able to get an A- in his paper (when I took the class it was the highest grade you could get). The research you need to do needs you to take breaks. When you do it at first, you WILL be wrong, and will recognize your errors over time, which is why you need to take your time and do it the way he's asking you to. Most of all, enjoy the class! He wants you to have fun, and treat his assignments like puzzles. They really are enjoyable if you enjoy a good mental exercise, and don't stress yourself out too much! He's very friendly and open and will provide any assistance you might need. ​

    • Fall 2016
    • Peter Rajsingh
    • Lots of Writing Always Do the Reading Requires Lots of Research
    • Profile picture
    Dec 26, 2016
    | Would highly recommend.

    This class was tough.

    Course Overview:

    I would highly recommend this course even if you aren't going into law. While I've considered that path, I knew I wasn't going to law school going into this class but I took it anyways because of the great reviews I've heard from my colleagues. After taking this class, I can say that I am not only better at understanding the constitution, I also can decipher any Supreme Court Case both past and present and I've learned life lessons along the way from the professor.

    Course highlights:

    The class is seminar style which sounds difficult in a room of more than 100 students but Professor Rajsingh handles beautifully. He maneuvers through the course material in a way that allows cases to flow and build on precedents. I also learned constitutional theory which I wasn't expecting to but thoroughly enjoyed. I also learned the importance of logic not simply in cases of law but in daily life. One of the ways Professor Rajsingh assesses students is through legal briefs. This is where he gives you a prompt of 4-7 paragraphs and you have to find legal issues. This has not only helped me in legal matters in my life but also in arguments and debates because I can better address the separate issues at hand instead of lumping it all into one problem.

    Hours per week:

    6-8 hours

    Advice for students:

    This is not a class one takes to slack off and get an A. This is a logic-based, work-driven course and the professor works to establish such an environment. There are things expected of you as a student and if you do the bare minimum, this class isn't worth it. However, if you are a student who is down to actually learn and work with course material to extrapolate into life applications, then this is one of the most rewarding courses you will take.

    • Fall 2016
    • Rajsingh,P
    • Great Intro to the Subject A Few Big Assignments Great Discussions

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